Sunday February 5th, 2011
Sam Evans: In recent years, with modern television developments making it easier and easier to watch games from your couch, fans haven’t felt as much of a need to come out to the ballpark. They’re missing out on so many aspects of the game and nothing beats watching a game at the ballpark on a sunny day. Speaking for myself, there are four reasons why people stay home and four reasons people go the games.
First of all, why people decide to watch the game at home, from the comforts of their living rooms.
Reason #1- Cost: Baseball games are not inexpensive, and with our country’s economic stature, it’s getting harder for people to afford attending a baseball game. On the other hand, despite it’s cost, almost everyone already has cable television, or even a radio, to track the game.
The current unemployment rate in American is 8.3%. While this might be the highest it has been in three years, the distribution of wealth amongst Americans is unbalanced. With the cost of all the food at the game, including tickets and parking, you’re usually spending over a hundred dollars.
Let’s say you’re an average baseball fan looking to take your two friends to an Angels game. Before anything, you need tickets. A normal seat along the third base line costs $50, so before you’ve even stepped in the ballpark, you’ve already spent $150. Add in hotdogs, beverages, and parking, and that’s about $200. There are cheaper seats (you can get a ticket to an Atlanta Braves game for only $6) but most people want a better view of the action.
Reason #2- “It takes too long, and going to games is inconvenient”: This idea is commonly used among business people. They say that with the three hours they spend at a baseball game, they could be doing something more productive.
Reason #3- Distance: This is a more acceptable reason for some people. If you live far from the ballpark it increases the difficulty of attending a Major League game. The good thing is, unless you live in Grass Creek, WY(945 miles from the Mariners, 948 from the Royals), you can find a MiLB or MLB team near your location that you can follow and make at least a yearly trip to their stadium.
Reason #4- Team’s success: The five teams with the lowest average attendance in 2011 were Oakland, Tampa Bay, Florida, Kansas City, and Baltimore. These teams’ combined record was 377-433. If your team is losing games, the ballpark isn’t as electric as it is for a team competing for a playoff spot. This is understandable, but you could at least go to watch the other team.
There are so many reasons to go to baseball games, but I want to focus on the main four.
Reason #1- The Ballparks: Unlike almost every other professional sport, every major league ballpark is different. From the swimming pool at Chase Field to the Green Monster at Fenway Park, every stadium is unique in its own way.
Reason #2- The Players: In my opinion, to truly judge a player’s talent and skill, you need to see them in person. It was awesome two years ago, when Stephen Strasburg drew big crowds wherever he went, just so people could see him pitch. Any scout will tell you that in order to construct a firm opinion on a player, it is best to see him in person.
Reason #3- The Fans: Baseball has better fans than any other sport in the world. At games, you can find every type of baseball fan. At every game, there is the, “I don’t care who’s playing, I’m wearing my Yankees hat” fan. There’s fan with the smeared team logo washable tattoo on their face, and of course, the fan who, apparently hasn’t been to a game since 2003, because he keeps asking why Marcus Giles isn’t on his All-Star ballot.
Fans are another part of what makes baseball games fun. They are important to the culture of baseball, and they always will be part of what defines the game.By staying at home, you miss out on the opportunity to interact with other people while watching the same games.
Reason #4- “The Oasis”: People from foreign non-baseball countries often have trouble understanding why baseball is America’s pastime. The real reason why baseball is so important to America is because every baseball game is surreal and nostalgic.
Nothing can beat the moment when you walk in the ballpark and you’re greeted by the fresh aroma of the peanuts, hot dogs, and freshly cut grass. Then, once you get to your seat, and you take your first glimpse at the field, memories fill your head. Memories of your youth and childhood, and how innocent it all seemed. When you look out over the field, you remember how badly you wanted to be one of those players.
Then as you sit under the sun (hopefully), the game begins. You see how much the players care about their jobs, but how they still realize how lucky they are to be playing a game. The game gets more exciting inning by inning, and when it finally ends, nobody ever says they just wasted three hours.
Every time you return to the ballpark, it truly is like taking a vacation from your hectic life. In the middle of your city, you can take a break with 30,000 other people, to enjoy a simple, but yet so complicated, game. The players display the skills that they’ve spent their whole lives developing. These huge patches of bright green, meticulously maintained grass, in our concrete monsters of cities, is what keeps us coming back.
Why people need to keep coming to baseball games is best summarized by Terrence Mann in, “The Field Of Dreams,” when he said,
- “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.”
It is so beautiful in this rugged world, that we still have a place where we can go to watch grown men play the game we all love. Baseball is far from a simple game, but anyone that’s been able to attend a game can see why we love it. Baseball is, and always will be, forever.
**Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans. We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers. You can also follow Sam on Twitter***
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